Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Millions of children suffer with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which frequently lasts into adulthood. ADHD is characterised by a variety of enduring issues, such as trouble maintaining focus, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviour.

Along with poor academic performance, problematic relationships, and low self-esteem, children with ADHD may also have these issues. Sometimes, symptoms get better as we mature. Some individuals, however, never fully outgrow their ADHD symptoms. However, kids can pick up successful coping mechanisms.

The most frequently identified mental illness in youngsters is ADHD. Compared to girls, boys are more likely to have it. When a youngster starts having attention issues, it is typically seen within the first few years of school.


ADHD’s main characteristics are hyperactive-impulsive behaviours and inattention. Before the age of twelve, ADHD symptoms begin, and in some kids, they become apparent as early as age three. ADHD symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can even persist into adulthood.

ADHD Types in Children

Symptoms are grouped into three types:

Inattentive. A child with ADHD:

  • Is easily distracted
  • Doesn’t follow directions or finish tasks
  • Doesn’t seem to be listening
  • Doesn’t pay attention and makes careless mistakes
  • Forgets about daily activities
  • Has problems organizing daily tasks
  • Doesn’t like to do things that require sitting still
  • Often loses things
  • Tends to daydream

Hyperactive-impulsive. A child with ADHD:

  • Often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
  • Doesn’t stay seated
  • Has trouble playing quietly
  • Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things. (In teens and adults, this is more often described as restlessness.)
  • Talks excessively
  • Is always “on the go,” as if “driven by a motor”
  • Has trouble waiting for their turn
  • Blurts out answers
  • Interrupts others

Combined. This involves signs of both other types.

ADHD Symptoms in Adults

Symptoms of ADHD may change as a person gets older. They include:

  • Often being late or forgetting things
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Problems at work
  • Trouble controlling anger
  • Impulsiveness
  • Substance misuse or addiction
  • Trouble staying organized
  • Procrastination
  • Easily frustrated
  • Often bored
  • Trouble concentrating when reading
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems

ADHD Causes

Experts aren’t sure what causes ADHD. Several things may lead to it, including:

  • Genes. ADHD tends to run in families.
  • Brain chemicals. These may be out of balance in people with ADHD.
  • Brain changes. Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD.

Sugar doesn’t cause ADHD. ADHD also isn’t caused by too much TV, a stressful home life, poor schools, or food allergies.

ADHD Diagnosis and Testing

ADHD can be challenging to identify, particularly in young children. No test will pick it up. Children and teenagers with ADHD are diagnosed by doctors following extensive discussion of the symptoms with the kid, parents, and teachers, followed by observation of the child’s actions.

A youngster may undergo a battery of tests to evaluate their neurological and psychological health to validate a diagnosis of ADHD or learning difficulties. A paediatrician or mental health specialist with experience in ADHD diagnosis and treatment should administer the tests. The tests could consist of:

  • A medical and social history of both the child and the family.
  • A physical exam and neurological assessment that includes screenings of vision, hearing, and verbal and motor skills. More tests may be given if hyperactivity may be related to another physical problem.
  • An evaluation of intelligence, aptitude, personality traits, or processing skills. These are often done with input from the parents and teachers if the child is of school age.
  • A scan called the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System, which measures theta and beta brain waves. The theta/beta ratio has been shown to be higher in children and adolescents with ADHD than in children without it.

ADHD Treatment

There are various methods for treating ADHD. However, evidence indicates that a multimodal strategy is the most effective method to treat symptoms for many kids. This involves a combination of several therapy modalities. With the help of medication and counselling, many symptoms of ADHD can be controlled. It is crucial that therapists, doctors, teachers, and parents work closely together.

Medication for ADHD

Stimulants are the most frequently recommended drugs for treating ADHD, despite debate regarding potential overuse. They can assist enhance attention span and manage impulsive and hyperactive conduct. They work by influencing brain chemicals like dopamine, which can exacerbate impulsive behaviours.

Stimulants occasionally cause more severe negative effects. Some, for example, have been associated with an increased risk of heart issues and death in young patients with heart disease. Additionally, they could exacerbate psychiatric disorders like anxiety or depression or result in a psychotic reaction.

Psychotherapy and Psychosocial Interventions

It has been demonstrated that several particular psychosocial interventions can help people with ADHD and their families manage symptoms and enhance daily functioning.

Before a kid is diagnosed, anger, blame, and frustration in families with school-age children may have grown. To get over bad emotions, parents and kids may require specialised assistance. Parents can learn about ADHD and how it affects a family from mental health specialists. They will aid in the development of new abilities, perspectives, and interpersonal relationships for both the child and his or her parents.

Parents must actively participate in all forms of therapy for children and teenagers with ADHD. For the treatment of ADHD symptoms and behaviours, psychotherapy that consists exclusively of one-on-one sessions with the child (without parent involvement) is ineffective. Treatment for anxiety or depression symptoms that may coexist with ADHD symptoms has a higher chance of success.

Behavioural therapy

A type of psychotherapy called behavioural therapy works to improve a person’s behaviours. It could entail providing practical aid, such as assistance with task organisation or doing schoolwork, or dealing with emotionally trying situations.

Additionally, behavioural treatment teaches patients how to:

  • Monitor their own behaviour
  • Give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting

In order to help someone regulate their behaviour, parents, instructors, and family members can also provide feedback on specific habits and assist in setting up clear rules, chore lists, and regular routines. Children may also be taught social skills by therapists, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for assistance, or react to teasing. Training in social skills can also include learning how to respond appropriately to others’ body language and vocal tones as well as how to read their facial expressions.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

To increase focus and concentration, cognitive behavioural therapy teaches patients how to become conscious of and accepting of their own thoughts and feelings. The ADHD patient is also encouraged by the therapist to adapt to the lifestyle changes brought on by the medication, such as exercising restraint when tempted to behave impulsively or thinking before acting.

Family and marital therapy

Family and marital therapy can support behaviour adjustments, help family members and spouses deal with disruptive behaviours, and enhance interactions with the ADHD patient.

Parenting skills training

Parenting skills training, also known as behavioural parent management training, teaches parents how to motivate and praise their kids’ good behaviour. Parents are instructed to employ a system of incentives and penalties to influence their children’s conduct, to provide quick praise for desired activities, and to ignore or reroute undesirable behaviours.

Specific behavioural classroom management interventions

It has been demonstrated that specific behavioural classroom management interventions and/or academic adjustments for kids and teens can help control symptoms and enhance functioning at school and with peers. Plans for behaviour modification or programmes for teaching study or organisational skills are examples of interventions. Preferential seating in the classroom, a lighter workload, or extra time for tests and exams are a few examples of accommodation.

Stress management techniques

By enhancing their capacity to handle irritation, stress management techniques can help parents of children with ADHD respond calmly to their child’s behaviours.

Support groups

Parents and families can connect with others who have comparable issues and worries through support groups. Groups frequently get together on a regular basis to discuss challenges and triumphs, swap advice on consultants and tactics, and consult with experts.


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